We are proud to share the next in our series of TRE’s cultural “roots”, guideposts that have been identified by TRE as critical to our work. Read more about this organizational effort at www.tre.org/blog-tre-roots/.
TRE Root #18: HONOR COMMITMENTS
I previously wrote about our Root, Clarify Expectations and discussed the importance of being clear on expectations in order to achieve a commitment for follow-through. The Root this month, Honor Commitments, is the response to or goal of the collaborative process of making and managing commitments. This Root is important to our work at TRE because it is a demonstration of the value we place on the services we provide to people, the role we play within our team, and the responsibility we as individuals have at TRE.
When we consistently honor the commitments we have made to others, we build trust that we are reliable and true to our word. When we are inconsistent in honoring our commitments, people lose trust in us and our ability to do what we say we are going to do. People often feel that you do not care about them when you do not honor your commitments. This gets at the heart of our first Root, Put People First. When we honor our commitments to people, we are showing we care about them and want to support strong outcomes for their benefit.
We rely greatly on one another and the people we support rely greatly on us so that they can access the services they need and pursue the lives they desire. When we make a commitment to do something for a person in services or one of our team members and then follow through on that commitment, we create a positive ripple effect that allows other commitments to be honored. When we do not follow through on those commitment, it creates a domino effect that limits other people’s ability to honor their commitments.
One example of this domino effect that I hear about from families served in all areas of TRE is related to our role of completing paperwork and processes to support them in accessing services. We have committed to completing a process that will support that family to receive services, which may include processing paperwork, following up on needed information, or coordinating team input. Sometimes, honoring that commitment takes much longer than we told the family and services are delayed. The provider or the therapist can then not begin to deliver those services and the person goes without services or the provider goes without being paid. This creates hardship for the provider in addition to the person being impacted.
Honoring commitments impacts the way others see your integrity and credibility, but it also impacts your view of yourself.
Honoring commitments requires effort on our part as we are managing challenging workloads or multiple responsibilities and commitments. Some suggested tips to support include:
- Know your limits. Many in our field want to do whatever we can to support people, but it is important to not over-commit. Your time is valuable, so monitor what you can commit to and then honor that.
- Decline when you cannot honor the commitment requested. When expectations are being clarified, make sure the commitment you are agreeing to is doable. If it is not, decline and negotiate other potential options, as suggested in our Root Clarify Expectations.
- Be prepared. Once you make a commitment, take time to determine what is needed in order to honor that commitment and then plan how you will complete it by the agreed to time.
- Find organizational tools that support your preferred style of working. Use your calendar, tracking documents, alarms, or other tools to support your ability to monitor your commitments.
- Clarify expectations. Be sure you and the other person understand the commitment, next steps and timelines in the same way.
As you go through your work, consider the following:
- Talk within your team about the strategies people use to help track and honor commitments. Brainstorm ways to help one another with honoring commitments.
- Reflect personally on the value you place on honoring your commitments. Who is benefited when you honor your commitments? Who is impacted when you don’t?
- Share your experiences when others have honored their commitments to you, here at work or in your personal life.